Monday – 141222

Gymnastics

5 Sets of:
30 sec L-Sit
30 sec Frog Stand DEMO

WOD

12 min AMRAP of:
7 Ring Dips
9 GHD Sit Ups
12 Alternating Pistols

Dealing With Rheumatoid Arthritis Through Fitness

By Amber Larsen from Breaking Muscle

Today, I am writing about something close to me. I am writing about my experience with rheumatoid arthritis.

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in September of 2014. I began treatment at the end of that same month. By the time I was diagnosed, my life had completely changed.Walking was nearly impossible without help, and my lower body was so much damage there was a fear things would not return back to normal. At the age of 29, I am living with things I never imagined – such as my bright pink cane I used when walking was not exactly possible.

The doctors believe I have been living with rheumatoid arthritis since my early twenties.Throughout this journey, it is fitness that has kept me sane. For anyone with a degenerative disease – be it rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or osteoarthritis – if you have lost hope, maybe I can show you that life can still move forward, and exercise can help you get to a state of acceptance with your body.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA, degenerative, fitness, exercise, adversity, health

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the second most common type of arthritis. It affects about three percent of women and one percent of men in the United States. It is a general connective tissue disorder that affects mainly the joints. It most commonly affects or destroys small joints like the ones in the hands and feet. The cause of the disorder is unknown, but genetic factors can influence someone’s chances of developing RA.

RA is classified as an autoimmune disease and is considered a reaction of the body to its own tissues. With RA, synovial fluid and associated connective tissue cells proliferate, forming a pannus (cloth-like layer), which causes the joint capsule to become thickened and destroys the articular cartilage. In advanced stages, opposing joint surfaces can become fused.

The Science Behind RA and Exercise

If you have been diagnosed with any autoimmune disorder or degenerative disease, I recommend you continue to move as part of your therapy. Continuing to exercise helped me through the toughest moments of dealing with RA.

And there is some science behind staying active when it comes to dealing with your RA.study conducted by the American College of Rheumatology set to determine the effects of participation in a low-impact aerobic exercise program on fatigue, pain, and depression. They also examined whether intervention groups compared with a control group differed on grip strength and walk time, disease activity measures, and aerobic fitness at the end of the intervention.

A sample of 220 adults with rheumatoid arthritis, ages forty to seventy, was divided into three groups: class exercise, home exercise using videos, and a control group. Measures were obtained at baseline, after six weeks, and after twelve weeks of exercise.

Results concluded that overall symptoms (pain, fatigue, and depression) decreased significantly after twelve weeks for the class group compared with the control. In regard to walk time and grip strength, the treatment groups improved more than the control. There were no significant increases in measures of disease activity.

We can conclude that the study supported the positive effects of exercise on walk time and grip strength. Furthermore, overall symptoms of fatigue, pain, and depression were positively influenced in this group of patients with RA.

Note: It is best to seek out the help of a physical therapist or exercise science/physiologist who specializes in helping people with degenerative diseases. Without this education, a practitioner can accidentally cause a person with an autoimmune disorder like RA or lupus to experience a nasty flare up, which can keep you down for weeks or even months.

My Personal Experience with RA and Exercise

I knew I had to make the time to workout even though my pain levels were not optimal. When my legs were not working well, I focused on my upper body. I did simple exercises such as pull ups, push ups, and ring rows. Now my upper body is much stronger than my lower!

“The easy thing to do was to stay sedentary, but I knew exercise was something I had to do, despite the physical limitations and the mental frustration it presented me. “

Adjusting my workouts was not easy, mentally or physically. When I was first diagnosed, I continued to exercise. But I quickly began to feel my limitations and that was not easy. I went from strong to weak in what felt like overnight.

At one point I was awake for 24 hours straight because the pain was unbearable and uncontrollable. I felt like giving up. The easy thing to do was to stay sedentary, but I knew exercise was something I had to do, despite the physical limitations and the mental frustration it presented me. It was mentally freeing and frustrating at the same time. But getting back to moving was like a way of accepting of my body.

I realized that giving up was not an option. The more I incorporated fitness into my day, the more the idea of giving up left my mind. Giving up was the easy out. The alternative of getting out of bed and training while hurting was not easy, but I did it. And this mentality of moving forward and doing what I had to do also translated to my approach to treatment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA, degenerative, fitness, exercise, adversity, health

My treatment was not easy, either. Part of it involved taking heavy dosages of medication that suppressed my immune system, but I went forward with that medication without a second thought. Initially, I experienced nausea, as well as nosebleeds. Fortunately, this only lasted two weeks, and I credit this to my fitness regimen and diet. I believe being healthy and active kept many of my treatment’s unpleasant side effects from showing up. But it still took me two months to begin to feel good and strong again.

Even now, I continue to exercise and take my medication, and though there have been bumps in the road, I feel so different from five months ago. Focusing on my fitness helped me not to look back, but to look forward – because every day, I can do a little something different.

Fitness Is My Saving Grace

Fitness can be a saving grace, both physically and mentally, for anyone diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Your approach to exercise may need to change and may differ from what you did previously, but it can still be a regular part of your routine, and should be.

Your life doesn’t end when you are diagnosed with any degenerative disease. Your life can be fulfilling, and by remaining active, whatever challenges come your way, you will have to strength and mental dexterity to overcome them.

 

 

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Saturday – 141220

“Ataxia”

2 Rounds for time of:
25 Deadlifts (135/95)
25 Pull Ups
20 Deadlifts
25 Push Ups
15 Deadlifts
25 Sit Ups
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Super last minute Christmas Party!

It’s tonight from 5-8pm at the gym!  Don’t be the one that doesn’t show up!
 ~
This is an ugly sweater potluck party so bring your favorite dish and drinks to share (or hoard)! There will be games with prizes and a White Elephant exchange (don’t buy anything, just find something ridiculous in your basement/storage)! There is a sign up board at the gym to let us know what you’re bringing or you can comment on the event. Hope to see you all there!  Checkout the Facebook event link here.

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Friday – 141219

Gymnastics

10 min Skill work on:
Lateral Wall Walks DEMO
Freestanding Handstand
Handstand Walk

WOD

You may pick a WOD that you missed from earlier in the week or choose a named CrossFit workout – the girls, heroes, or games workouts. You may not create your own WOD. This is an excellent time to test benchmarks.

Thanks to CrossFit Verve for sharing this!

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Thursday – 141218

Strength

3 Rounds of:
1 min Plank Hold
1 min Hip Extensions

WOD

4 X 400m Run
w/ 2 min Rest between efforts
Note: Your score is the total time minus the 6 min of rest.

Gymnastics

30 Plow to Straddle
1 min Left Leg Split
1 min Right Leg Split

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Wednesday – 141217

Gymnastics

3 Sets of:
10 Wall Climb
15 Chest to Bar Chin Ups
15 V-Ups

WOD

14 min AMRAP of:
10 Overhead Squats (135/95)
35 Double Unders
7 Muscle Ups
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Super last minute Christmas Party!

Come hang with us this Saturday from 5-8pm at the gym. This is an ugly sweater potluck party so bring your favorite dish and drinks to share (or hoard)! There will be games with prizes and a White Elephant exchange (don’t buy anything, just find something ridiculous in your basement/storage)! There is a sign up board at the gym to let us know what you’re bringing or you can comment on the event. Hope to see you all there!  Checkout the Facebook event link here.

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Tuesday – 141216

Strength

5 X 2 Back Squat @ 90%

WOD

10 Rounds for time of:
5 Box Jumps (30″/24″)

1 Shuttle Sprint*
*1 Shuttle Sprint = 5m out and back, 10m out and back, 15m out and back

Compare to 141020

Gymnastics

3 Sets of:
10 Bridge Ups
15 Left Leg Swings
15 Right Leg Swings

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